HARVEY, Gabriel

(1550-1631)
Gabriel Harvey was an English writer and scholar, an intimate friend of Ed­mund Spenser,* and a vocal critic noted for his war of words with Thomas Nashe.* The eldest child of John and Alice Harvey, Gabriel Harvey was born in Essex, England. His father was a successful master ropemaker and was able to send Harvey to grammar school and then to Christ s College, Cambridge. After receiving his bachelor of arts in 1570, Harvey was elected a fellow of Pembroke Hall, where he met the young Edmund Spenser. Harvey was a popular teacher at Pembroke and became famous for his talent at disputation as well as his devotion to the pedagogy of Petrus Ramus.* Socially awkward and intellec­tually independent, Harvey became a fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1578, but failed to be elected master there and was prevented from pursuing a doc­torate. He completed his doctorate in civil law at Oxford University in 1585.
In 1579 the publication of Spenser s Shepheardes Calender afforded Harvey some renown as the character Hobbinal, Colin Clout s (Spenser s) close friend. In 1580 Harvey and Spenser published a series of letters in which Harvey sat­irized certain Cambridge professors; this marked the beginning of a long and damaging quarrel with a group of London writers including John Lyly,* Robert Greene,* Thomas Nashe, and (marginally) Christopher Marlowe.* The publi­cation of his brother Richard s discourse on astrology in 1583 and subsequent attacks on it drew Harvey into further controversy. Eventually Harvey found Heemskerck, Maerten (or Maarten) Van himself in an ever-widening loop of criticism and countercriticism with other authors, consisting of personal, professional, and philosophical attacks. These became so virulent and abusive that in 1599 Archbishop John Whitgift and Bishop Richard Bancroft, the official licensers of the press, ordered the confis­cation and destruction of the works of Harvey, Nashe, and other authors of satire. After a final conflict with his sister Mary in 1608 regarding nonpayment of monies to her from their father s estate, Harvey lived the last twenty years of his life in relatively quiet retirement and obscurity.
Bibliography
V. Stern, Gabriel Harvey: His Life, Marginalia, and Library, 1979.
Richard J. Ring

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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